Did you know?…Because I didn’t

I have recently shared a few fellow cancer fighters pages and updates on my personal Facebook page.  I don’t do it often, but sometimes my heart compels me to do so.  I share so that a child or family can receive extra thoughts, prayers and love.  Also to continue to bring awareness to pediatric cancer.  Some of the reactions I’ve received from doing so, have been surprising.  I am so thankful for those friends and family members who have been supportive of my girls as well as other cancer warriors.  And who do comment so nicely and heartfelt on my posts about them.  Some friends have reached out via text that they are thinking of our friend, or they are heartbroken when I posted about Grant passing away, or praying for Hannah hearing the news of relapse.  Thank you, sweet friends.  Thank you.

But then there are the other messages I’ve received, or comments I’ve heard.   Some have asked me to stop posting about childhood cancer.  “Your girls are in remission, stop being a downer.”  “I can’t look at those posts of sick littles, it makes my stomach hurt.”  These comments hurt me.  Hurt my heart.  Yes, my girls are in remission, but remission IS NOT THE END.  It’s a great step, but our nightmare isn’t over.  And it never will be.  (I don’t let that define us, though.  We are happy and we continue to move on with our life, but that doesn’t mean that we never talk or think about childhood cancer or the others still fighting.)  I am sorry that the photo of our friend fighting for his life made your stomach hurt, I hope you never have to experience the feelings his family feel.  That my family feels.  I don’t wish it on anyone.  I don’t post to make you sad, but to bring awareness to the issue.  To give you a small, small glimpse into this life.  Our forever changed life that includes childhood cancer.  It’s our reality, and I’m sorry if that reality makes your stomach hurt or makes you sad.

Awareness is empowering.  Awareness brings change.  Change brings cures.  Cures are what we need for our children.  Everyone goes pink for October and talks about saving the boobies and no one bats an eye.  I post a photo of a child fighting for his life.  Fighting his 3rd cancer, and people ask me to stop because it makes them sad.  I can’t.  I won’t.  You’re uncomfortable about children dying?  Good.  So am I.  Let’s do something about it.

I post these things to raise awareness, yes.  I also post to show support. To support our fellow cancer families who supported us.  Other families who are going through hell.  A hell no one except another cancer family understands.  A sign of solidarity that we have your back.  I may not know them, but I’m still there, holding them up in thought and prayer.  I will never stop raising awareness for childhood cancer.  I won’t stop advocating for families touched by this beast.

I shared this post on Kenedi and Kendal’s caringbridge in September of 2015.  It was before I started this blog, but I feel important to re-share it now.

**Before I became a “Momcologist” a few short weeks ago, I was ignorant to the issue of pediatric cancer. Maybe ignorance isn’t the right word, but I definitely never thought about it.  It was never a fear of mine.  Sure, I had normal, rational mom fears about my child/children.  Like they would break a leg, or Teagan would fall off the couch or down the stairs if I wasn’t watching her close enough, or if the twins actually slept through the night, I’d wake up panicked something was wrong.  But the thought of cancer, let alone pediatric cancer, never crossed my mind.  I know a lot about other cancers.  People I know have had pancreatic cancer and everyone knows about breast cancer.  How can you not?  Think pink is everywhere, especially during October.  Even the NFL supports the boobies.  But, since the twins’ diagnoses, I have learned that although pediatric cancer is not rare, it’s not talked about.  Ever.  Is it because it’s too hard to imagine one of our children getting cancer?  Is it because it’s uncomfortable to talk about the reality of children dying from cancer?  Is it because pediatric cancer is not preventable or 100% cureable?  Whatever the reason may be, I’m here to say we should talk about it.  We should raise awareness.

Let’s look at the statistics : 1 out of 330 children will develop cancer by age 20.  Worldwide a child is diagnosed with cancer every 3 minutes.  1 of every 5 children diagnosed with cancer will die within 5 years.  Pediatric cancer is the #1 disease killer of US kids.  The #1 killer.  32% of the survivors will suffer from severe disabling or life-threatening effects of the treatment needed to save their lives.  Many will have effects such as infertility, becoming blind or deaf.  Of general cancer research funds, pediatric cancers are allotted 4%. That 4% must then be divided up between 12 types of pediatric cancers and those types all have subtypes.  4%.  That’s it. Crazy, huh.

September is pediatric awareness month and I understand some of you are not cancer parents, so spreading awareness isn’t a priority, but the day before the twins’ diagnosis, I wasn’t a cancer parent either.  I’m not telling you this because I want you to go out and donate money or cause a scene in the name of pediatric cancer.  I’m just making you aware.  Because I wasn’t.

#GoGold to raise awareness for pediatric cancer

#MoreThan4**

XOXO

Abby

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